SAN DIEGO—Mel Carr, an engulfed-in-flames San Diego real-estate broker, made a public plea to Congress Monday, urging legislators to increase funding for the study and prevention of human combustion.

Mel Carr.

"Like most Americans, I thought the dangers posed by inadequate flame-retardation in the clothing I wear and materials around me was minimal to non-existent," Carr said. "Only now, when it is too late to save myself, do I realize that we can–and must–do more to protect ourselves from needless combustion."

Carr first burst into flames April 20, when a spark from a cigarette landed on the sportcoat he was wearing, igniting the 37-year-old. In the weeks since, Carr has become a passionate fire-safety crusader, writing letters to politicians, organizing petitions, and speaking to schoolchildren about ways to reduce the risk of burning alive.

His hair and skin long gone, the ash-pile to-be implored Congress to "act now before others suffer my fate" and recommended a $30 million allocation over five years for the development of safer, more flame-retardant fabrics and building materials.

"If only the jacket I was wearing were made of flame-retardant fibers, I would not be standing before you today on fire," said Carr, the remains of his body fat stoking the living candle that is his body.

Added Carr: "The stench of my burning flesh may be shocking, but it is not nearly as shocking as the fact that, in the past 20 years, no new efforts have been made by American textile manufacturers to reduce the flammability of the clothes we wear."

For his tireless campaigning on behalf of burning Americans, Carr has been honored with the Presidential Citation For Courage. The prestigious award was last given to stabbed-person advocate Vincent Gossage, who was stabbed with a steak knife throughout the early 1990s and became a champion of people who are being stabbed.